WHEN it comes to knowing exactly what is required on the big occasion, Oxford United have an ace up their sleeves in the form of Derek Fazackerley.

The highest-profile job in the 64-year-old’s long and varied career in football was the time spent as assistant to Kevin Keegan with England.

As a result, there is no-one involved with either club at Sunday’s final more used to games at Wembley, even if this will be Fazackerley’s debut under the arch.

“I’ve not been to the new Wembley in a professional capacity,” he said.

“My last game at Wembley unfortunately was the final game against Germany (in 2000) and after that it was pulled down.”

The twin towers are long gone, but the advice for handling the big occasion remains the same.

Fazackerley said: “I think you have to try and embrace it, because it’s over so quickly.

“For many people it might be their first and last opportunity, so make the most of it.

“Hopefully they will go on and have another opportunity, but don’t waste this chance to make it one of the most memorable days you could ever have in your professional career.

“I can remember my first taste of Wembley, when I was appointed to the England team with Kevin.

“The first international was an unbelievable experience, you just couldn’t get enough of it.

“With the 60,000 who could be there on the day, it’s a special place.”

No-one stays in football as long as Fazackerley without two factors – a deep love of the game and a will to win.

He is part of a United set-up who have an opportunity over the next five weeks to win at Wembley and clinch automatic promotion from Sky Bet League Two.

After coming this far, the assistant head coach knows only one thing matters.

“It’s something everyone should look forward to, but you want it to be a great day for the right reasons, by ending up on the winning side,” he said.

“Don’t get me wrong, you’ll look back in a few years with hindsight and say what a fantastic day it was, but it will be even better if you win.

“We’re up against a side that are in form themselves, but it would be a fantastic achievement for this club to not only gain promotion, which is the ultimate goal, but also to win a final at Wembley.”

Something which will work in United’s favour is the tight-knit squad which has flourished in the culture created by the coaching staff.

And Fazackerley thinks this season has created bonds which are built to last.

He said: “Results breed confidence, but there’s certainly been a closeness between the players which has been special to watch.

“The young players and the loan players have come in and bought into the atmosphere and camaraderie around the place.

“It’s a culture we’ve tried to develop off the field and it’s part of the reason for the success.

“I look back on my career and there were certain groups of players at Blackburn who had success together and you’re closer to them than the players you didn’t have success with. That’s only natural.

“There are several players here who will have made friends for life and they will always have an interest in each other’s careers and life, wherever they go.

“It’s been a good time for the players and one I’m sure they’ll look back on in future years and think ‘that was something special’.”